How to Protect Your Information The Internet is a powerful tool for investors. But unless you take steps to protect the security of your account numbers, passwords, or personal identification numbers (PINs), hackers and identity thieves can wreak havoc on your personal finances. Also, keep in mind that too often investment opportunities that seem too easy turn out to be scams. To help you invest online, you are advised to consider the following recommendations.
Protect your personal information, andit’s very valuable.- If you receive an email or pop-up message requesting personal information, do not reply to it or click on the link included in the message. Email is not a secure means of transmitting personal information; Plus, you don’t want to risk downloading a virus or spyware onto your computer that can record an account number, password, or PIN as you type it on your keyboard. The safest course of action is not to respond to requests for personal or financial information.
If you think that a company with which you maintain an account may need this type of information, please contact the company directly using the contact information that you know is genuine. Do not access your investment account online until you have verified the security indicators of the website, such as an icon representing a key or a closed padlock located in the browser’s status bar or a website whose address begins with “ https: ”(the letter“ s ”stands for“ secure ”).
Unfortunately there are no infallible indicators; some scammers have spoofed security icons. Protect your passwords. Keep your passwords in a safe place, out of the reach of others, and avoid storing them on your computer. Do not share your passwords on the Internet, by e-mail or on the phone. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) should never ask you for your password. If you are accessing your accounts on a computer installed in a public place, be sure to position yourself so that no one can see your hands or the screen at the time you enter your PIN or password.
Hackers may try to crack your passwords with the intention of accessing your computer. You can make it harder for them by doing the following: Use passwords of at least eight characters that include numbers or symbols. The longer your password, the more difficult it will be for a hacker to discover it. Avoid using common words – some hackers use programs that can try all the words in the dictionary. • Do not use your personal information, your online username or adjacent keys (Ex: asdfg) as passwords. Change your passwords regularly (at least every 90 days). Do not use the same password for each of the online accounts that you access on the Internet.